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We have identified three related areas as immediate priorities for action:

  • Knowledge and Network
  • Developing Skills and Talent
  • Advocacy

Knowledge and Network

Animators informed us that they found information about the sector and opportunities difficult to find.

  • We will identify ways in which we can help enable the sector to consolidate, harness, develop, strengthen and extend existing networks, forging links between communities, organisations, higher education, exhibitors, and with audiences.
  • We want to quickly establish ways in which we can share and signpost relevant information in ways that are complimentary and collaborative.
  • We want to utilise online platforms to bring together people and to share knowledge and exchange ideas.

Seek out anyone prepared to talk about or teach you their work and process and how they do it. Listen to a fraction of the stories that came before yours and you will benefit enormously.  
Sue Goffe, producer, Studio AKA

At university I found the most important things I learned were not from the tutors but from the other students. It’s interesting to see how many people help on your projects and to think about how you can continue this. 
Karolina Glusiec, artist

Try to do lots of different projects with different people. Anne Wilkins, animator

Developing Skills and Talent

Animators reported that the most useful things they had learned in their careers came often from the other animators and mentors.

  • We will harness the evident good will, expertise and talent of the animation sector to establish develop an Accelerate ‘faculty’ of leading figures willing to share experience, and fostering discussion and debate, peer-to-peer and mentored learning.
  • In partnership, we will develop and support opportunities for people to develop their creative and business skills, most particularly through a ‘laboratory’ approach to the development of talent and actual projects.
  • We will encourage animators to learn from other sectors – film, craft, visual arts and other parts of the creative economy – and advocate for the recognition and inclusion of animation within existing professional support schemes for creative practitioners.

Animation is no longer an artistic backwater but a massively broad industry that integrates into the digital economy so lauded by the Government. You can’t have a cutting edge animation industry if you don’t support its practitioners’ most artistic endeavours. Chris O’Reilly, Nexus Productions

Short form animation provides the development arena needed for animators to hone and perfect their craft outside of the confines of the commercial industry. Although not particularly commercially viable, the techniques and skills developed in short form feed directly into the commercial industry. British auteur animation, in its own right, is something to be culturally proud of.  Survey comment

Advocacy

Animators told us that support to make and show work was the best way to develop their practice but that public funding was difficult or impossible to secure, and that the UK had fewer exhibition outlets and opportunities.

  • We will seek to further advocate and promote greater understanding about the sector, our work and its cultural and economic value.
  • We will lobby for recognition of independent, creative animation, in public policy, strategy and investment, most particularly by seeking dialogue with the British Film Institute, Creative England, Arts Council England, Creative Skillset, Creative and Cultural Skills and other national and regional agencies.
  • We will seek to ensure that public investment in areas such as programming and international marketing effectively benefits creative animation eg by responding to consultations and reviews and by giving voice to the sector’s concerns
  • We will seek to more effectively engage audiences with the work of animators and the Accelerate programme itself, through public events and making resources available online.

For whatever reasons, tactically and strategically the Animation industry lost a central voice a while ago that could articulate and aggregate its needs to funders. This was in contrast to say, Games (who have two strong and vocal trade associations) and who of course, recruit animators by the bucket load. The reason there’s plenty of training for filmmakers is due to the film industry’s self-organisation and ability to demand through representative bodies.
St John Walker, Head of Development, Creative Skillset, comment on Future animation: new studios and a ‘new breed of creativity’, Culture Professionals Network, guardian.org.uk, 10 October 2012

Delivery and Partnership

We need to work collaboratively and in partnership to deliver these objectives, and Animate Projects has secured funding from Arts Council England’s Grants for the arts programme for some initial networking and knowledge sharing activities through spring 2014.

Our partners will include the three regional animation networking organisations supported through the animation organisations supported through Creative England’s Film Networks funding – All Animated (Yorkshire and the North), Wonky (Bristol) and Animation Forum West Midlands – Flatpack Festival (Birmingham) and Show Me the Animation (Bristol).

We will harness the experience and expertise of Animation Alliance members in developing and delivery of the Accelerate programme, and we will especially continue to work with higher education, including London College of Communication, Bournemouth College of the Arts, Royal College of Art and others.

We will engage with the broader film, art and animation sector, for example, through members of CAN: Cinema Arts Network, the Contemporary Visual Arts Networks and with Visual Arts UK.

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